She has learned what is and what is not important in life and learned to give people the "space of grace" because it's hard to know what someone may be dealing with.
"I am thankful that we were blessed to have [Dr.] Michelle Endicott to help us along the way. She was definitely my advocate! Looking back, I have no idea how I would have coped without her support," Smith said.
Now, Smith rarely turns down the chance to try something new, even if it's not always "crazy." Among the crazy things she has done are ziplining, including a line over a half-mile long with speeds of 60+ mph, and skydiving from 14,000 feet. She's also hiked the Diamond Head in Hawaii.
"After cancer," she said, "I'm not much scared of death."
Smith is passionate about saving girls from having to deal with everything she has had to. On Valentine's Day 2012, she testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and told her story.
She hoped a bill would pass to put age restrictions on tanning beds. It did not then, but a similar bill introduced this year did. According to the West Virginia Legislature website, it completed legislation April 13 and is awaiting the governor's signature.
Smith said, "I don't classify myself as an advocate in the sense that I lobby for it just because that's not a process that I am familiar with, but I absolutely support the complete ban for teens under 18.
"Parents don't always make the best decisions for their children, so I feel strongly that the government needs to fill that role."
Smith has great compassion for young girls and urges them to embrace themselves as they are.
"If I had one message for teen girls everywhere, it would be that you are God's unique design," she said. "Whatever it is that they are struggling with, they need to know that they were created for a purpose and that they are loved with an unwavering love.
"No tan is worth dying for."
Risk factors for skin cancers like melanoma include family history, having a lot of moles or freckles and being an avid tanner, all of which applied to Smith. To learn more about skin cancer, including the different types and how you can protect yourself, visit the Skin Care Foundation at www.skincancer.org.